Pretoria

At the beginning of the school break, I spent a couple days in Pretoria doing some work at the Peace Corps office. I spent some time doing research at the pretty decent resource center we have, and I also finally got to meet the Peace Corps staff member who is looking into bringing a healthcare volunteer into my area.

It was also the first time I had independence in Pretoria. We had stopped in a few times during training, but wandering around on my own was a very different feeling. I met some fellow PCVs leaving South Africa for the holidays, and I got to spend some time doing what Peace Corps Volunteers can’t seem to stop doing–metabolizing ethanol.

Hatfield is the “party” neighborhood in Pretoria. There are two halves of Hatfield, cynically nicknamed Whitefield and Blackfield. Blackfield has more restaurants and is generally more chill. Whitefield is an enclosed pedestrian area surrounded by drinking establishments with names like “DropZone”. DropZone, by the way, featured getting frisked for guns and white people doing air guitar to Puddle of Mudd-ish post-grunge crap.

The highlight was a student night that might as well been a teen night. I’ve never seen so many 16 year olds openly drinking in a commercial establishment. We met a dude there who said the best place to visit in SA was some casino (might have been Sun City) because it has a Hooters. Yes. We then proceeded to tear up the dancefloor.  By the time we left, people had totally stolen our New World moves. This might have been a bad thing–the UN measures economic prosperity through dancing. The worse people dance, the richer the country.

We also made a visit to the Ambassador. No, not that dude who is a (former?) executive at the 7th worst place to work in America. The Ambassador is a store where employees of foreign governments can buy vices entirely free of any taxation–like a Duty Free store to the nth power. Walking in there was like a visit to the UN General Assembly–rich people from all over the world waiting for Qaddafi to stop talking so they could go drink.

Pictured is around half of a purchase. For those of you Scotch fans keeping track of home, the total damage was about $400. I think that was for about 20 bottles of the assortment you see pictured above. I did not buy any booze, I was just along for the ride.

My first day of vacation was also in Pretoria. I met up with my friend Ben and his Zimbabwean Rasta friend Verai (spelling?).

The plan was to go see some Cricket like real colonials. But the rain had other plans…

Nevertheless, the sun came out and things dried up. Here I am lost in thoughts about the greatest gift of the British Empire to planet Earth:

All sarcasm aside, cricket is totally awesome. Yes, it’s true that the score is in the 100s and a best-of-three lasts 15 days. But it is super chill to watch, and tickets are like 8 bucks and you can bring your own food and barbeque and stuff. I turned on a bunch of other PCVs to the glory of cricket, and they came the next day.

Most importantly, the beer is cheap and comes in beautiful flowers:

India (#1 in the world) was playing against South Africa (#2). The first 15 days ended in a draw, but there are a series of shorter games coming up. Which I will be watching with tingling anticipation. Here’s a bunch of dudes guarding the Cricket pitch before the game started.

Almost makes me miss the British Empire.

Almost.